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How to Register Your Business’s DBA Name

How To Set Up A Dba

In many states, a DBA registration must be renewed every five years or so. Make a note to file for renewal before it expires so you can continue to legally operate your DBA.

  • To do business under a DBA, you must complete and file the appropriate DBA forms and pay a filing fee, after which point you receive a DBA certificate.
  • Having a bank account in your business’s name can also help keep your business and personal finances separate.
  • Owners must register a DBA before they can use a name different from their official name, and most states impose fines for using a DBA that hasn’t been registered.
  • Corporations, LLCs, LLPs and limited partnerships, on the other hand, must file assumed names with the New York Department of State.
  • All businesses trading under a fictitious name are required to file a DBA.
  • But there are several other steps you can take at the same time, before, or after that registration.
  • Any business transacting under a name which differs from the legal name of the entity or the owner must file a DBA.

How to add a DBA to an LLC varies slightly from place to place, but it is a fairly easy process that typically involves filing a simple form with the appropriate government agency. Check with your city or county agency that deals with business regulation, typically the county or city clerk’s office. You also must decide whether you want to file your application on the basis of commercial use, or intent to use. If you haven’t used your DBA yet and file on the basis of «intent to use,» you will have to fill out additional forms and pay an extra fee.

How much does registering a DBA cost?

However, many banks require a DBA registration to open a business account under the DBA name. Using a DBA allows sole proprietors and general partnerships to separate their business from their personal life. When you file a DBA, you’re also announcing the name you’ve chosen to the world by putting it on the public record. In some states, a DBA filing doesn’t prevent another business from registering the same name, but it’s worth checking if that’s the case in your state. Many sole proprietors prefer the simplicity of starting a business under their personal name.

How To Set Up A Dba

Worcester offers two separate business certificate forms, so be sure you choose the right one. Our ratings take into account a product’s cost, features, ease of use, customer service and other category-specific attributes. One commonly asked question is what is the difference between an LLC and a DBA. A DBA is essentially a nickname for a business whereas an LLC is a true business entity type.


Without having to shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars to file for a corporation, you can make your business appear professional and attractive to customers. It’s a fairly cost-effective way to enhance your brand value. Whether or not a DBA is right for your business depends on a variety of factors, including the type of business you own and what goals you have for your business. For example, if you’re a handyman who is content to roll around town with your name painted on the side of your white van, you may not need a DBA. But again, if you have a trendy logo and a catchy business name, you’ll get a lot more positive attention as you roll around town. Now that we’ve taken a look at what a DBA is broad terms, let’s get more granular and examine the benefits that DBAs offer—and some of their inherent problems.

Can you write a check to a DBA?

Checks written to your business should include your business name in the "Pay to the Order of" field. If you are a sole proprietor, you are the only person who can cash the check. Open a checking account in your name and attach a "doing business as" to the account.

If you must file in other areas, this entire process of setting up a DBA needs to be completed for each state . Tools, resources and guides to officially form your company. This is most commonly done by a corporation or LLC that wants to use a different name for a certain line of business.

When is a DBA required in my state?

As of 2017, the state of North Carolina made online filing available along with an online database of existing trade names. Business owners or companies trading under a fictitious name must file a DBA. The chosen trade name must not represent the business’s sphere of activity inaccurately. All businesses need to file a DBA when How To Set Up A Dba operating under a different trading name (other than the business owner’s or business’s registered name). You cannot file a DBA with the Arizona Corporate Commission since it isn’t a legal requirement in this state. Businesses are able to reserve a trading name for a set fee, though this is not the same as filing a DBA.

A DBA is not required in every state—but most states do require it. You don’t want to get caught operating under a fictitious name without actually setting up a DBA. You never know when one botched transaction or irate customer could turn into a lawsuit that incriminates you for fraud. A renewal can be filed at any time during the three months prior to its expiration date.

Why is registration required?

Applications take 2 to 3 weeks to process and cost $10.00. Filing a DBA name isn’t hard — you just need to work within your state or county’s requirements to go about it the right way. It’s usually best to get this all done before you operate under your intended “doing business as” name; somewhere between 30 and 60 days before you open your doors.

How To Set Up A Dba

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Find Legal Answers For Your Small Business

If the business structure in which you conduct business is a sole proprietor or general partnership, you’ll need to file a DBA if your business has a different name than your own name. The reason for this is that, as a business entity, a sole proprietorship and general partnership are unincorporated ways to conduct business. This means they don’t need to file legal entity formation papers or a business entity name with the state.

  • Understanding DBAs and how they can either be advantageous or dangerous for your small business is important in weighing your options.
  • Basically, the business owner and the business are one and the same entity, which means they have the same name, too — unless they file a DBA.
  • Enabling tax and accounting professionals and businesses of all sizes drive productivity, navigate change, and deliver better outcomes.
  • The DBA filing requirements and fees vary by state, but the process of registering a DBA is simple and straightforward.
  • And although a DBA doesn’t provide you with legal protections in itself, it does further separate you from your business.

Easy Doc Filing, LLC does not verify EIN application submissions and is not responsible for the accuracy of the information provided. Toby is an attorney on a mission to help investors and business owners keep and grow more. Toby teaches extensively throughout the US to groups of investors and professionals, with many of his courses certified for continuing education credit for legal, accounting, and real estate professionals. He teaches a popular bi-weekly webinar, Tax Tuesday, where business owners and investors can ask any tax question and get answers LIVE on-air. As a business owner, your goal should be to do whatever provides the most tax advantages and legal protection while creating the least headache. To that end, if you’re considering how to formalize and register your business, you should seek qualified legal advice from a firm like Anderson Advisors.

How do I know where to file my DBA?

Check out ourstate DBA guidesto see the potential costs in your business’ home state. For instance, if your DBA doesn’t do well and has a loss, those numbers will be calculated within the tax liability for your LLC. If you need extra guidance with choosing a brand name for your business, read our naming guide. When readers purchase services discussed on our site, we often earn affiliate commissions that support our work. When it comes to compliance, costs, and other factors, these are popular states for filing a DBA. Find opportunities for businesses owned by women and people of color. Research Latest research and discoveries about small business trends and insights.

  • Once you know the cities where you intend to operate, you should reach out to the local clerk’s offices to register your business certificates in those locations.
  • For instance, Boston has a DBA database search engine available.
  • Any differences created in the translation are not binding on the FTB and have no legal effect for compliance or enforcement purposes.
  • ADBA name—sometimes called anassumed name,trade name, orfictitious name—is easy to create and file.
  • Check with your state to ensure you file the proper documents needed when setting up a DBA.
  • This keeps all your assets separate from the company, limiting your personal liability, while giving the pass-through tax benefits of being a sole proprietor.

When starting a business, there are a lot of unfamiliar legal terms and acronyms. One of the most important acronyms is DBA, which allows you to do business under a different name. Opening an LLC bank account shouldn’t be difficult, provided you do your research and bring the proper papers.

Before you try to get a DBA name in your state, research the state’s terminology to make sure you locate and submit the correct state forms. You’ll find many of the relevant state terms in the extended table at the bottom of this page. If you wish to register your DBA in-house, you can use the Application . The division processes regular (non-expedited) work in the order it was received, and processing times may vary based upon the volume of items the division receives. Paper documents are reviewed by division staff to ensure compliance with Utah law. For information on the division’s current approximate processing times, please contact our help center. Businesses file a DBA or an assumed name with the Register of Deeds office.

  • If they’re not, then clients and customers can sue and end up taking your personal liquidity and even property.
  • You have to file a DBA in Alaska if you plan to trade under a name other than your registered name with the ASS .
  • A DBA on file will also help you obtain some flexibility, whether you’re expanding geographically or into other areas of business.
  • For example, a sole proprietorship may have to file at the state and county level in one state, while another state may require that same sole proprietorship to file with just the county.
  • In some cases, you don’t need to file a DBA if your business name is a combination of your name and a description of your product or service.

Cars, homes, and checking accounts for personal use are protected from a lawsuit lodged against an LLC. If your current business name isn’t working out for you, know that you have options. DBAs are also useful for sole proprietorships and partnerships that want to use a trade name instead of the owners’ names. When you form a business entity such as a limited liability company , corporation , limited partnership , or limited liability partnership , your business has limited liability protection. Limited liability protection means that if your business is sued, your personal assets are protected.

What are the duties and responsibilities of the Division of Corporations?

We also have many other business formation services that can ease your work so you can focus on being successful. You should consider a DBA if you plan to operate your business under a different name than the one it’s registered under. They’re oftentimes called a “trade name” or “fictitious business name,” depending on the state. Depending on the type of goods or services your DBA provides, you may need to secure proper licenses and registrations, just as you would when setting up an LLC. This will require some homework and research to be done on your part.

How To Set Up A Dba

DBA stands for “doing business as,” and it’s something you might consider for your business if you prefer not to use your real name or registered business name. Most states require you to register a DBA, and the process is fairly simple. Before you file for a DBA, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons. When learning how to set up a DBA, it is important to keep in mind that each state has different processes to follow. However, generally, you will need to submit the necessary documents to the relevant office or state agency and pay a filing fee. As mentioned before, there is no statewide registration for a South Carolina DBA. DBAs in the state are registered by county.


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